Fudan Researchers Proposes New Approach to Age-related Cataract Study

Professor Lu Yi’s group at Eye & ENT Hospital of Fudan University has published their latest result about the lens tissue heating model on Scientific Reports, offering a new approach to age-related cataract research.

The incidence rate of age-related cataract is the highest among all diseases that cause blindness. Although it has been a focus of the global medicine community, its pathogenesis has not been identified. Domestic and foreign researches usually conducted animal experiments to study lens aging, which made little progress concerning the aging model based on lens epithelial cells.

In their previous work, Professor Lu’s group successfully simulated the changes of lens crystallins during the period of over ten years under the influence of body temperature. The latest research made further progress. Compared to the mild heating model, the cellular model provided a more convenient and accurate method for studying lens aging in vitro, including changes in the membrane head group order in each cell, the real-time observation of crystallin distribution, and the monitoring of functional changes in the chaperone activity of crystallins as a result of aging.

According to Professor Lu, the traditional animal experiments imposed a great harm to animals. In addition, such methods failed to faithfully reflect the aging of crystallins which were hard to obtain. On the contrary, the new model is in vitro, which remarkably broadens the possibility of studying age-related changes in lens.

Professor Lu’s research has attracted worldwide attention in the academia. After the result was published online, foreign journalists conducted a video-interview for Professor Lu, which has been available on Bio Techniques’s website.